kayshapero: deep sea squid resembling Mentor of Arisia. (Fascinating)
Wow the first...

Wow! mystery signal from space finally explained

June 7, 2017 by Bob Yirk

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with the Center of Planetary Science (CPS) has finally solved the mystery of the "Wow!" signal from 1977. It was a comet, they report, one that that was unknown at the time of the signal discovery. Lead researcher Antonio Paris describes their theory and how the team proved it in a paper published in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences.
(more)

And Wow the second (Leastwise Wow is what I said when I saw the article.)

Physicists Finally Have Proof That Two-Dimensional Magnets Exist

BEC CREW 8 JUN 2017

(Science Alert) Since the discovery of graphene in 2004, there's been a proliferation of strange new two-dimensional materials. In all of them, scientists have been chasing one invaluable property - magnetism, which is crucial for data storage, medical devices, and electricity generators.

After years of searching, many suspected that true two-dimensional magnets might not actually exist. But now we finally have proof - physicists have created the first ever 2D magnet, and it's got properties we haven't even seen yet.
(more)
Addendum about the latter, did you know you could use sticky tape to peel layers off a graphene crystal until you're down to one atom thick? And then put them BACK the same way? Me either. Scotch Tape Forever!
kayshapero: deep sea squid resembling Mentor of Arisia. (Fascinating)
Now that looks interesting....

Ancient, scary and alien-looking specimen forms a rarity in the insect world—a new order
January 25, 2017 by David Stauth


Ancient insect in amber.

This strange insect found preserved in amber represents a new species, genus, family and order of insects. Credit: George Poinar, courtesy of Oregon State University

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a 100-million-year-old insect preserved in amber with a triangular head, almost-alien and "E.T.-like" appearance and features so unusual that it has been placed in its own scientific "order" - an incredibly rare event.

There are about 1 million described species of insects, and millions more still to be discovered, but every species of insect on Earth has been placed in only 31 existing orders. Now there's one more.

The findings have been published in the journal Cretaceous Research and describe this small, wingless female insect that probably lived in fissures in the bark of trees, looking for mites, worms or fungi to feed on while dinosaurs lumbered nearby. It was tiny, but scary looking.

(more)
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
Just to prove life is full of surprises, even life you thought you knew about pretty well...

Lichens aren't quite what we thought, shocked scientists discover

New yeasts found to be secret partners with known fungi and algae

By Emily Chung, CBC News Posted: Jul 21, 2016 2:35 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 22, 2016 8:42 AM ET

Most people know lichens, such as this wolf lichen, as those flaky, light green things that grow on tree bark. You probably learned in school that they're a mutually beneficial partnership or "symbiosis" between fungi and algae, but many lichens have now been found to include a third partner, a yeast.

Most people know lichens as those flaky, light green things that grow on tree bark, and learned in school that they're a mutually beneficial partnership or "symbiosis" between fungi and algae.

But lichen scientists have made the shocking new discovery that many lichens are also made up of a previously undiscovered third partner — a new kind of yeast.

Not only does that potentially alter the fundamental definition of what a lichen is, but it "should change expectations about the diversity and ubiquity" of the organisms that form them, says a new study published Thursday in Science.  (more)



See also the Christian Science Monitor article here.
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
Tim Griffin's latest video.  Much fun!  He's Toastmaster for the 2016 OVFF btw... And I'm Interfilk guest.  This is going to be FUN.

kayshapero: (cat/hedgehog)
One for the books, if the book is Great Horror Tales of Chemistry anyway.  5 years old, but quite appropriate for the month which contains Halloween.



February 23, 2010

Things I Won't Work With: Dioxygen Difluoride

Posted by Derek

The latest addition to the long list of chemicals that I never hope to encounter takes us back to the wonderful world of fluorine chemistry. I'm always struck by how much work has taken place in that field, how long ago some of it was first done, and how many violently hideous compounds have been carefully studied. Here's how the experimental prep of today's fragrant breath of spring starts:

The heater was warmed to approximately 700C. The heater block glowed a dull red color, observable with room lights turned off. The ballast tank was filled to 300 torr with oxygen, and fluorine was added until the total pressure was 901 torr. . .

And yes, what happens next is just what you think happens: you run a mixture of oxygen and fluorine through a 700-degree-heating block. "Oh, no you don't," is the common reaction of most chemists to that proposal, ". . .not unless I'm at least a mile away, two miles if I'm downwind." This, folks, is the bracingly direct route to preparing dioxygen difluoride, often referred to in the literature by its evocative formula of FOOF.
(more)



(update - the blog it was in moved, so updated the link to the still quite interesting article...)
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
Water, water everywhere....  Thanks, Krypton Radio!!

NASA Confirms an Ocean on Enceladus

enceladusWe have known about the water on  Enceladus for a while now. Hydrothermal vents at its southern pole shoot water vapor into space, high enough and big enough to be seen hundreds of thousands of miles away. But now, thanks to some clever analysis of the wobble in its orbit around Saturn, we now know something else about it: that water comprises an ocean that spans the entire globe, just under its solid crust.

NASA worked out the answer to the puzzle of whether Enceladus had a global ocean using research from Cassini, a spacecraft launched in 1997 that arrived at Saturn in 2004 and has spent the last decade studying the planet and its many moons.

Enceladus isn’t the only worldlet in our Solar System that jets liquids from its surface, and once Cassini arrived in orbit around Saturn it was to confirm that the moon was spouting water. But while there had been suspicions that  Enceladus had a subsurface sea, nobody really knew for sure how big that sea was. In this latest study of the gathered data, however, the researchers noticed a wobble in its orbit that  “can only be accounted for if its outer ice shell is not frozen solid to its interior.”

In other words, Enceladus sloshes.
(more)

kayshapero: (Anansii)
For those unfamiliar with Nicolai's Other Suns and related campaigns, that's what the participants have been known to call robot probes of all sorts.  Various sorts of pads for clinging to locales to be investigated are known collectively as "stickie poos".  (Terms derive from a comment by John Bradley.)  Anyway, an article from Sky and Telescope on what would seem to be obvious, but I'm glad to see it's actually under development.  I've only quoted a small fraction, so be sure to check the link.)


Robotic Flyers: The Future of Space Exploration?
By: David Dickinson | August 18, 2015

Flying robot explorers could one day grace the skies of other worlds. Quadcopters, the four-propeller drones that have become a familiar sight in terrestrial skies, may be the next big thing in space exploration. Engineers based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the Florida Space Coast are working on the next generation of robotic scouts to take planetary exploration airborne.

The facility, known as Swamp Works, is designing small flying probes which will be capable of reaching hard-to-access spots, such as crater walls or crevasses.
(more)
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
A few more interesting things I found in Science Daily today

1. Some deep sea sharks are buoyant - which surprised the guy who put a camera on one and got a lot of blank frames because it swam higher than he expected most of the time.

2. The incredible shrinking diode. Apparently layering van der Waals materials directly on a molecular scale (instead of stacking them) gets interesting resonant tunnel diode effects.

3. Saharan silver ants use Physics! Well, to quote the summary: Researchers have discovered two strategies that enable Saharan silver ants to stay cool in one of the world's hottest environments. They are the first to demonstrate that the ants use a coat of uniquely shaped hairs to control electromagnetic waves over an extremely broad range from the solar spectrum to the thermal radiation spectrum and that different physical mechanisms are used in different spectral bands to realize the same biological function of reducing body temperature.
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
The usual - if humanity decides to act like a sapient life form we can deal with this.  If it acts like it usually does... Oh dear.....

Got the link from an article in Science Daily.  You probably want to go directly to the article; there's a video and stuff.


Stanford Report, June 19, 2015

Stanford researcher declares that the sixth mass extinction is here

Paul Ehrlich and others use highly conservative estimates to prove that species are disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs' demise.

By Rob Jordan
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich calls for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat before the window of opportunity closes.

There is no longer any doubt: We are entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity's existence.

That is the bad news at the center of a new study by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Ehrlich and his co-authors call for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat, but warn that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

"[The study] shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event," Ehrlich said.

(more)
kayshapero: (glass squid fascinating)
From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Moth tails divert bat attack: Evolution of acoustic deflection

Significance

Bats and moths have been engaged in acoustic warfare for more than 60 million y. Yet almost half of moth species lack bat-detecting ears and still face intense bat predation. We hypothesized that the long tails of one group of seemingly defenseless moths, saturniids, are an anti-bat strategy designed to divert bat attacks. Using high-speed infrared videography, we show that the spinning hindwing tails of luna moths lure echolocating bat attacks to these nonessential appendages in over half of bat–moth interactions. Further we show that long hindwing tails have independently evolved multiple times in saturniid moths. This finding expands our knowledge of antipredator deflection strategies, the limitations of bat sonar, and the extent of a long-standing evolutionary arms race.
(more)

kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
OK, in mice, but promising for all that.


From The Scientist

Erasing Mitochondrial Mutations
Researchers develop a method to selectively remove mutated mitochondrial DNA from the murine germline and single-celled mouse embryos.

By Jenny Rood | April 23, 2015

Mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can be specifically targeted and removed by transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) in murine oocytes, single-celled mouse embryos, and fused human-mouse hybrid cells, providing proof of principle for a method that could one day be used to treat certain hereditary mitochondrial disorders in people, according to a study published today (April 23) in Cell.

“It’s an extremely important step,” said Valerio Carelli of the University of Bologna, Italy. “The results are very relevant and very convincing.”

Between 1,000 and 100,000 mitochondria power each human cell. Often, mitochondria in the same cell have different genomes, or haplotypes, a condition known as heteroplasmy. Certain haplotypes include mutations that impact mitochondrial function and cause disease, particularly in energy-hungry organs such as the brain and heart. Because mitochondria segregate randomly as cells divide, it is impossible to determine early in embryonic development how a mix of wild-type and mutated mitochondria inherited from the mother will affect an organism.

To rid mitochondria of these harmful mutations, researchers have used restriction enzymes as well as zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) and TALENs, which can be designed to recognize any DNA sequence, to cut and eliminate mutated mitochondrial genomes from heteroplasmic cells.
(more)
kayshapero: (glass squid fascinating)
The spacecraft that left to study a planet to arrive at a dwarf planet is almost there...



NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Wakes Up for Pluto Encounter in 2015
by Calla Cofield, Space.com Staff Writer | December 07, 2014 09:12am ET

LAUREL, Md. — Pluto, get ready for your close-up: A NASA spacecraft has roused itself from the final slumber of its nine-year trek to the edge of the solar system, setting the stage for the first close encounter with Pluto next year.

The New Horizons spacecraft, currently located 2.9 billion miles (4.6 billion kilometers) from Earth, had been in hibernation since August — with most of its systems turned off to reduce wear. But late Saturday (Dec. 6), mission scientists received a confirmation signal from New Horizons at the probe's Mission Operations Center here at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The probe is now wide awake for its 2015 flyby of Pluto.

At the time of its wakeup call, New Horizons was just over 162 million miles (261 million km) from Pluto. About 20 people gathered in a conference room here at APL to await the signal from New Horizons. (more)
kayshapero: (glass squid fascinating)
Auroras as seen from the International Space Station. What can I say but cooooooool!
kayshapero: (glass squid fascinating)
Sounds like the stuff they've been talking about for many years, but now they're actually doing it in the lab. From The Scientist.

Nanomedicine
From bioimaging to drug delivery and therapeutics, nanotechnology is poised to change the way doctors practice medicine.

, , and | August 1, 2014

In a 1959 lecture at Caltech famously dubbed “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” American physicist and Nobel laureate–to-be Richard Feynman discussed the idea of manipulating structures at the atomic level. Although the applications he discussed were theoretical at the time, his insights prophesied the discovery of many new properties at the nanometer scale that are not observed in materials at larger scales, paving the way for the ever-expanding field of nanomedicine. These days, the use of nanosize materials, comparable in dimension to some proteins, DNA, RNA, and oligosaccharides, is making waves in diverse biomedical fields, including biosensing, imaging, drug delivery, and even surgery.

Nanomaterials typically have high surface area–to-volume ratios, generating a relatively large substrate for chemical attachment. Scientists have been able to create new surface characteristics for nanomaterials and have manipulated coating molecules to fine-tune the particles’ behaviors. Most nanomaterials can also penetrate living cells, providing the basis for nanocarrier delivery of biosensors or therapeutics. When systemically administered, nanomaterials are small enough that they don’t clog blood vessels, but are larger than many small-molecule drugs, facilitating prolonged retention time in the circulatory system. With the ability to engineer synthetic DNA, scientists can now design and assemble nanostructures that take advantage of Watson-Crick base pairing to improve target detection and drug delivery.

Both the academic community and the pharmaceutical industry are making increasing investments of time and money in nanotherapeutics. Nearly 50 biomedical products incorporating nanoparticles are already on the market, and many more are moving through the pipeline, with dozens in Phase 2 or Phase 3 clinical trials. Drugmakers are well on their way to realizing the prediction of Christopher Guiffre, chief business officer at the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based nanotherapeutics company Cerulean Pharma, who last November forecast, “Five years from now every pharma will have a nano program.”  (more)
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)

Found! Trio of Huge Black Holes in Distant Galaxy's Core


Charles Q. Choi, Space.com Contributor   |   June 25, 2014 01:01pm ET

Scientists have just discovered a distant galaxy with not one but three supermassive black holes at its core.

The new finding suggests that tight-knit groups of these giant black holes are far more common than previously thought, and it potentially reveals a new way to easily detect them, researchers say. Supermassive black holes millions to billions of times the mass of the sun are thought to lurk at the hearts of virtually every large galaxy in the universe.

Most galaxies have just one supermassive black hole at their center. However, galaxies evolve through merging, and merged galaxies can sometimes possess multiple supermassive black holes.

Astronomers observed a galaxy with the alphabet soup name of SDSS J150243.09+111557.3, which they suspected might have a pair of supermassive black holes. It lies about 4.2 billion light-years away from Earth, about "one-third of the way across the universe," said lead study author Roger Deane, a radio astronomer at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
(more)
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
This one's actually on Facebook as opposed to a You Tube embed, so I'm going to settle for a link instead of trying to embed it.  It shouldn't require a log-in; I checked it out when I wasn't. Someone collected a batch of snippets about various entertaining chemical reactions, and turned them into a video.  My favorite is the magnetic putty and the metal cube (Beware of the Blob!), but they're all a lot of fun.  My thanks to Veerenda Chandrappa for posting this!
kayshapero: (glass squid fascinating)
Not only does it look weird, it sees weirdly too. :)

Study finds mantis shrimp process vision differently than other organisms (w/ video)
Jan 24, 2014 by Bob Yirka



(Phys.org) —Researchers with the University of Queensland, Brisbane along with an associate from National Cheng Kung University, in China have found what they believe to be a reasonable explanation for mantis shrimp having 12 photoreceptors in their eyes. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes a study they conducted where shrimp were trained to respond to different colors, which led to the discovery that despite more receptors than most other organisms, they are less able to discriminate between different colors—a finding that indicates they process colors in a different way. Michael Land and Daniel Osorio offer a Perspective piece on the researchers efforts in the same journal issue.
(more)
kayshapero: Lynx looking thoughtful (Lynx)
Anybody else out there remember an old (and short lived) TV show called "Salvage One"? OK, this isn't a garbage collector, more of a broom, but Japan's about to test a device to remove some of the scary amounts of crud circulating in orbit and dump it into the atmosphere to disintegrate.


Japan to Test Space Junk Cleanup Tether Soon

By Miriam Kramer, Staff Writer Space.com

January 17, 2014 06:30am ET


Japanese scientists are getting ready to launch a test of a space junk-cleaning tether, according to press reports.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) researchers are developing an electrodynamic tether designed to generate electricity that will slow down space-based debris, according to a report from Agence France Presse.

The slowed-down space junk will fall into lower and lower orbits until burning up harmlessly in Earth's atmosphere.
(more)
kayshapero: (glass squid fascinating)
Finally had time to read through some of Science Daily and as usual found a LOT of interesting stuff. Here's a couple of items - for more go subscribe yourselves. :)

Researchers Apply DNA Biology to Vaccination Technique

February 1, 2006 — Spraying viral genes directly through the skin is a new technique that turns infinitesimal amounts of DNA into an effective vaccine. If approved for use in humans, the new procedure could save lives in case of a flu pandemic, by skipping the current, time-consuming production of vaccines in chicken eggs.
(more)


Not only that, folks like my daughter who are allergic to raw chicken egg proteins can safely get flu shots. All with the good old Star Trek "swoosh" of air injection instead of ouchy needles. :)

In other news:

Tiny Swimming Bio-Bots Boldly Go Where No Bot Has Swum Before

Jan. 17, 2014 — The alien world of aquatic micro-organisms just got new residents: synthetic self-propelled swimming bio-bots.

A team of engineers has developed a class of tiny bio-hybrid machines that swim like sperm, the first synthetic structures that can traverse the viscous fluids of biological environments on their own. Led by Taher Saif, the University of Illinois Gutgsell Professor of mechanical science and engineering, the team published its work in the journal Nature Communications.

"Micro-organisms have a whole world that we only glimpse through the microscope," Saif said. "This is the first time that an engineered system has reached this underworld."
(more)


And slowly that fictional usage of nanotech we read about is creeping out into the real world...
kayshapero: (Default)
THIS is cool. Behold a one hour lecture (with questions and answers) about The Life and Times of Tyrannosaurus rex, by one Dr. Thomas Holtz, as posted to YouTube last March.

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